Concerns for Southern Utah Search and Rescue

(KUTV) Search and rescue teams in Southern Utah are busier than ever with already 46 rescues in 4 1/2 months breaking last year’s record total of 44 rescues.

Washington County Search and Rescue officials say more rescues means more money which is creating concern for the existing SAR budget and what it might look like down the road.

2News met up with Deputy Darrell Cashin with Washington County Search and Rescue and asked if they would have to cut back if the current trend of rescues continued and he replied, “No matter what happens this year, we will respond to every search and rescue.”

“The more people that go out the more chances you’re going to have that people get hurt injured or lost,” said Cashin, and that’s been a reality that has led to an unusual amount of search and rescue calls.

“We’re planning on keeping this pace; right now we’re running around two and a half to three searches per week,” said Cashin.

This has proven to be a strain on SAR volunteers as well as the budget that funds these missions in to the Southern Utah landscape. Cashin said they started at $23,000 in 2015, and they have roughly $12,500 left in the budget.

Cashin said that number could very well increase especially with the rest of spring and the summer months still ahead pulling millions of tourists to Southern Utah.

“It potentially could become an issue should the rate of the rescues continue,” said Cashin and he said what this money goes towards is important to their cause. It buys food, drinks, medical equipment and replaces ropes and carbineers that get broken or lost during a rescue.

“If you’re not safe and you’re teammate is not safe you cannot help the subject you’re trying to help,” said Cashin and he added that most of their rescues have dealt with biking or hiking accidents.

“Sheriff Pulsipher has assured me that I am not to worry about the budget,” said Cashin, “He will find money from other lined items at the sheriff’s office to back fill should we ever run over budget again.”

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Copyright 2015 Sinclair Broadcast Group

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